Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Way Outta Here

"Enjoyable" is a matter of perspective.
Writing for me is as much a joy as burden—but I use burden very loosely.  The deeper into a story I go, with enjoyable characters and fun plot lines, the more I want to write about it.  The burden comes about when my brain won’t shut off about the whole thing.  This happens later in the process, as I’m starting to tie-up the loose ends, provide full explanations, and turn the very last plot twists. 

So, Saturday morning instead of sleeping in (as much as my boys will let me), I was lying awake around 3:30 AM while my brain was running down dialogue and plot points.

If writing was my only job, this wouldn’t really be a bad thing.  I could roll out of the bedroom (careful to let the wife sleep), fire up my computer and start working.  While writing is a “second” full-time job for me, it doesn’t quite cover the bills—not even the Scotch bill.

Undaunted, I rolled out of the bedroom, fired up the shared laptop, and tried to plug in my ergonomic keyboard.  That’s when things took a decidedly unpleasant and frustrating turn.  I can’t work on the small, square laptop computer for any meaningful time.  My carpal tunnel kicks in and I’m left aching for the rest of the day.  We’ve owned this particular laptop for about five years.  It remains reasonably functional, mostly for balancing the checkbook and letting the boys play some simple games.  It’s not set up at all for me to do any kind of meaningful writing.  One of the USB ports was
What have you done!?
“accidentally” broken.  The other decided this morning to fail outright.

Not all at once, mind you.  And not instantly, to be sure.

But fail it did.

The keyboard initially linked up perfectly, and I went about opening the current chapter of Hell Becomes Her from my DropBox (a wonderful cloud-based “drive”).  I started to work on the draft, typed out a couple of lines and that’s when the USB decided it was too early for any meaningful work.  The keyboard’s various lights flickered, sputtered and went out.  The computer told me, very helpfully, that the software for the keyboard had “failed to install”.  It cheerfully gave me a couple of recommendations to solve this issue.  I’m fairly certain it was laughing behind its virtual hand at me.

Two hours passed.

I downloaded, uploaded, rebooted, installed, reapplied and rebooted again.

The boys were quite awake and wondering what game I was playing.  They refused to believe that a
Whaddya mean by "not helping"??
computer can be used for anything but games or movies.  My youngest simply refused to stop “helping”, crowding my lap, trying to bang on the keyboard and use the mouse as I tried to fix the laptop.  I almost tried to buy them off by letting them play games (we never let them play games in the morning).  A half-hour or hour of actual work and I’d feel like I’d accomplished something.

Alas, after all the effort, the USB handed me its letter of resignation, packed it’s protocols, and left for he bust station.

I should have just started scribbling in my notebook.


  1. I can so relate to this. I just bought a second-hand lap top for times I can't work on my primary computer. I've had to install, reinstall windows and deal with every manner of fucked up peripheral. Technology. Making life "easier."

    1. All I wanted to do was write for two hours. Just two hours! ;)